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Mid-Pacific is a school with a rich history of innovation. In a world of evolving technology, Mid-Pacific faculty embrace an evolving platform, to prepare students for the future. With an immersive suite of technology programs that utilizes state-of-the-art equipment, innovation on the Mid-Pacific campus is scanned digitally, printed in 3-D and experienced in virtual reality. The Mid-Pacific classroom is an environment where learning is fun and engaging, and where students are challenged to question, inquire and imagine.

Technology opens many avenues with which to tell a story,” says Dr. Paul Turnbull, President of Mid-Pacific. “The storytelling approach to learning is what differentiates 21st century education from traditional education.”

Mid-Pacific earned the Apple Distinguished School designation for 2014–16. The designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence. A school’s programs must demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

Dr. Turnbull says the designation opens new possibilities for Mid-Pacific students who make use of the iPad’s graphics and software to enhance their storytelling. These activities are part of Mid-Pacific’s over-arching vision, called “Kupu Hou,” which means “to sprout and grow anew” in Hawaiian.

Mid-Pacific’s drive to make technology a focal point in the classroom expanded with a grant from the School of the Future (SOTF) initiative of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. The funding provided additional training for teachers and has heightened the level of technology with which students can engage. Brian Dote, the school’s Chief Innovation Officer, says SOTF fostered the early adoption of 1,700 iPads for administrators, faculty and, eventually, all students.

During the 2014–15 school year, Mid-Pacific juniors and seniors honed their skills in LiDAR (laser-reflected measurement technology) by assisting with 3-D scanning of Hawaiiana artifacts at the Bishop Museum. Meanwhile, middle-school students sharpened their 3-D skills using Smithsonian artifacts such as the Wright Brothers’ plane, bones from a prehistoric Tyrannosaurus Rex and the first telegraph. In each case, the objects have a story for the students to interpret and share.

As part of the lesson, Dote explains, students will come to understand why museums protect such artifacts. The students use iPads and other equipment to create and develop original content about these objects. Through technology, students are able to explore history and empathize with those involved. Adding audio/visual element makes the story all the more compelling.

For all this to happen smoothly, a technology department must work in the background. Mid-Pacific’s network infrastructure is constantly monitored to ensure seamless connectivity, says Scott Yoshinaga, Director of Technology. Internet access must be provided all over the hilly Mānoa campus and, Yoshinaga says, the digital infrastructure must be periodically upgraded to address new industry WiFi standards and to facilitate the connection of faster devices. The iPad made it economically viable to provide students with a versatile, mobile classroom. But, along with access comes Internet responsibilities for everyone.

“We want our students to be citizens on a global level, and that includes online,” says Dr. Dwayne Priester, Middle School Principal. “We expect the same moral and ethical values we instill in our student to apply when they use technology.”

Dr. Priester believes “citizenship” must be more encompassing today, and include the digital realm. When online, citizenship means fact-checking information, providing annotations and attributions of the source of content being used, properly sourcing photos, music or videos created by others, and the understanding that purchasing something on the Internet means yielding at least some personal data. Even signing up for an online service leaves a digital footprint.

“It’s not a fad, it is the future,” Yoshinaga says. “Every student will one day be connected somehow.” To support 21st century learning, the technology department plans to conduct further research on new methods in 3D scanning. Yoshinaga also wants to take app development to the next level via software support. New procedures in coding will help students develop new and important apps. To help students collaborate on projects, plans call for outfitting classrooms with Light-emitting diode (LED) TVs which can interface with iPads via AirPlay to stream content wirelessly.

The tech department is also researching drone technology for applications on campus, such as for shooting photos and video at sports events, as well as for school security. Moreover, an intra-school, GPS-tagged courier service may be set up to carry documents and small packages across the 34-acre campus. Dote says students would be able to use the drones for photography and videography. They would employ iPad apps to process, edit and share their work.

Mid-Pacific’s development as a 21st century school requires planning, effort and resources. “My job is to offer ideas and resources,” Dr. Turnbull says. “The faculty is responsible for adopting and implementing the opportunities. And the students are the innovators and artists who bring the concepts to life.”


Summit is Hawaii's magazine of ideas and style for the global citizen. We're named for Queen Kapiolani's motto, "kulia i ka nuu," strive for the summit. Summit is available on fine newsstands throughout North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

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